Strong Education Focus
The Brain Injury Association of New York State created LearNet, which is a resource for teachers, clinicians, parents and students. This website is an asset because it provides access to specialists and consulting services for free. The website is user friendly and appropriate for all ages. Accessible resources are extensive and supported by evidence-based research.
A resource guide available through the website, “Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guidebook for Educators," highlights general information, special considerations, strategies and approaches. The Brain Injury Association of New York State has many additional publications exemplifying the available wealth of information.
LearNet offers extensive lists of “problems seen," which are categorized for school, home and in social life. After selecting an evident problem the general medical, cognitive/self-regulatory, behavioral and social-emotional possibilities are explained in depth. If one of the suggested potential problems sounds familiar, tutorials are provided to guide the user through the necessary considerations and actions. The tutorials instruct on assessment issues, family issues, and physical issues.
An educational example of a problem seen is “The student appears to need directions repeated; he often does not do what he is supposed to do; he either does not begin or does not complete assignments; he may at times appear to be defiant." Lists of possible explanations designate observations and experiments to determine the sources of the problem from one of the four possibilities previously listed.
For this example, general medical possibilities include medication side effects, chronic pain, fatigue, hunger, hearing impairment and seizures. Identified cognitive/self-regulatory possibilities include initiation impairment, weak orientation to task, organizational impairment, attention deficit and inhibition impairment. Behavioral possibilities are oppositionality, attention seeking, manipulativeness and task avoidance. Social-Emotional problems could be depression, anxiety or frustration. Each of these possibilities are then examined further to rule out or focus in on impairments.
Consider weak cognitive and academic functioning. Halgin and Whitbourne (2003) said that people who have traumatic brain injury typically develop amnesia and persisting memory problems. On the provided tutorial, LearNet states that following TBI both encoding and retrieval can be significantly impaired but storage is often relatively spared. Notice the difference in outlook provided by a textbook versus LearNet which is a source of scientifically supported hope and guidance. LearNet expands on this point by saying that if information can be effectively processed and encoded; it is more likely to be retained even though it may be difficult to retrieve. The possibility of retention should not be diminished because it is the first step. In order to retrieve information, it must be retained. Taking small steps and realizing typical TBI processes bolsters the active search toward rehabilitation and recovery.